Our vegan sweet potato casserole is as delicious and easy to make as the timeless American classic we all know and love.
It combines the natural sweetness of sweet potatoes with brown sugar, pecans, and warm spices in a warm and cozy casserole dish.
It’s traditionally served as a side, especially during Thanksgiving, but for us, it’s the perfect dessert to eat on the couch while watching Gilmore Girls for the 7th time.
Table of Contents
Dietary Note: This recipe is suitable for a vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free diet (using gluten-free flour).
You’ll love our vegan sweet potato casserole recipe because it tastes as delicious (I promise you) as the classic sweet potato casserole you ate growing up for Thanksgiving.
Our recipe is easy to make with simple ingredients.
Also, it’s without eggs, and we replace the marshmallow topping with a crunchy and tasty crumble with pecans, sugar, and oats.
To make it, you can boil, steam, or roast the sweet potatoes.
The quickest and easiest way is boiling, but for a richer taste, you can roast them in the oven, whole and with the skin on (we boil them, though, cause it’s much faster).
The potatoes are mashed and mixed with winter spices like cinnamon and nutmeg.
Brown sugar is added to taste, which means you can add more or less based on your family preference.
You can make this dish from the start of October through Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and the cold January and February days.
It’s an excellent dessert or side dish to cozy you up for special family dinners and holiday meals.
Ingredients & Substitutions
Quantities are in the recipe box at the bottom of the page.
Get sweet potatoes with orange flesh as they look best and most traditional in sweet potato casserole.
They are sometimes sold as yams in the United States, so that you might find them under that name in some supermarkets.
You can boil, steam, or bake the sweet potatoes. We boil them.
If you bake them, you’ll need to add a splash of plant milk to the mixture as the baked sweet potatoes are drier and more dense than boiled ones. You can use oat milk, coconut milk, cashew milk, soy milk, or any other non-dairy milk.
You can use brown sugar like cane, beet, or coconut.
For strict vegans, you can double-check on the label if it’s vegan or not.
100% pure maple syrup or agave syrup works, too, but the casserole will be less firm and more expensive to make.
Many types of dairy-free butter are on the market these days, and most of them will work for this recipe.
The only tip I can give you here is to get vegan butter that comes in a block and is solid. Avoid spread-textured vegan butter for this recipe.
Substitute coconut oil for vegan butter.
Spices & Aromas
Cinnamon, grated nutmeg, and vanilla extract are the most traditional spices for sweet potato casserole.
We also like adding ground ginger and clove, but those are optional.
You can even grate in some orange zest for freshness and a pleasant citrusy flavor.
Salt & black pepper
We recommend sea salt or kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Rolled oats
- All-purpose flour: substitute gluten-free flour or almond flour.
- Brown sugar
- Vegan butter
- Pecan nuts: substitute walnuts or do half pecans and half walnuts.
You can replace the pecan topping with vegan marshmallows.
How to make vegan sweet potato casserole
Mash the sweet potatoes
Peel and chop the sweet potatoes into chunks and cook them in a large pot with lightly salted boiling water until they are fork-tender (about 15 minutes).
Drain them and let them steam out for 5 minutes to remove excess moisture.
Transfer the boiled sweet potatoes to a large bowl.
Add the brown sugar, diced vegan butter, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, ginger, vanilla extract, salt, and black pepper.
Mash with a potato masher until combined.
You can also use a hand mixer or immersion blender or blend everything in a food processor.
Build the casserole dish
Preheat the oven to 375°F or 190°C.
Grease a 9 x 13-inch casserole dish (about 22 x 33 cm) with butter. You can use any oven dish. We use a Pyrex oven dish.
Transfer the mashed potatoes to your casserole dish and flatten it with a spatula.
Now, sprinkle the chopped pecans on the sweet potatoes, then cover with the crumble topping.
For the topping, add flour, oats, fridge-cold diced vegan butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt to a food processor and pulse a few times until combined.
Bake at 375°F or 190°C for 15 to 25 minutes or until golden brown and crisp on top.
Let cool down for some minutes before serving; the topping gets crispier as it cools.
You can serve this vegan sweet potato casserole as a side dish or dessert.
If you have it on your holiday table for Thanksgiving or Christmas, we recommend serving it with the following:
Serve it warm (if serving leftovers, warm them up in the microwave for a couple of minutes) with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
With microwaved sweet potatoes
Microwaving is another excellent cooking method to preserve the most flavor from sweet potatoes.
Wash and pierce the sweet potatoes with a fork. Microwave 2 sweet potatoes at a time at full power until a knife can easily slide through them.
Microwave cooking time can vary between 7 and 15 minutes, depending on the size of the sweet potato and the strength of your microwave oven. So check the potatoes after 7 minutes to see if they are done.
When cooked, cut them in half (careful they are hot), scoop the flesh out, and add it to a large bowl. From here, follow our recipe.
With baked sweet potatoes
You can make vegan sweet potato casserole with baked sweet potatoes instead of boiled ones.
It takes much longer to make, and we don’t think it’s worth it. But if you want the best and most intense sweet potato flavor, that’s the way to do it.
Wash, then pierce the sweet potatoes with a fork. Bake them in a preheated oven at 400°F or 200°C for about 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until a knife can easily slide through them.
Peel the potatoes (careful they are hot) and add them to a large bowl. Add the other ingredients, plus, if necessary, a splash of your favorite non-dairy milk, then follow our recipe.
There is no need to add eggs to sweet potato casserole, and many traditional recipes don’t include eggs.
Eggs have become popular in baking in the last few decades, but in many cases, they are not needed and add unnecessary fats and calories to your meals.
Our vegan sweet potato casserole is proof that there’s no need for eggs in this delicious American recipe.
Sweet potato casserole should be relatively soft and firm and not watery or soupy. Think of a thick mashed potato firm on the spoon.
Sweet potato casserole can get soupy for several reasons. For example, it’s possible that your sweet potatoes have absorbed too much water while boiling.
To prevent this from happening, don’t overcook the sweet potatoes and drain them as soon as they are fork tender.
Then let them steam out at room temperature in the strainer for 10 minutes. This simple step dramatically reduces moisture in the sweet potatoes, making your casserole firmer.
Also, it’s common to find recipes online that add milk, eggs, and other liquids to a sweet potato casserole. But in most cases, this is not needed.
All you need for a good old casserole are sweet potatoes, brown sugar, spices, butter or vegan butter, salt, and pepper, plus a topping of your choice.
If you have already made your casserole and you notice that is soupy, the best way to thicken it is to keep baking it in 10-minute intervals until you reach your desired consistency.
Note that if you do so, you should arrange the casserole on the lower oven rack and decrease the temperature of your oven to 300°F or 150°C to prevent the casserole from burning.
Storage & Make ahead
Make ahead: you can make this up to 2 days in advance and store it in the fridge without the topping and wrapped in plastic wrap. Add the topping before baking for about 30 minutes.
Refrigerator: keep leftovers in the fridge, wrapped, or in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Reheat: eat cold, at room temperature, or warm in the microwave for a few minutes.
Freezer: we don’t recommend freezing this recipe.
For many more side dish ideas, check out our sides category page.
Vegan Sweet Potato Casserole
- 9 x 13-inch casserole dish or oven dish about 22 x 33 cm, we use a Pyrex oven dish
- potato masher or hand mixer, immersion blender, blender.
- 3 pounds sweet potatoes peeled and diced
- ⅓ cup brown sugar up to ½ cup for a sweeter casserole
- ¼ cup vegan butter
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg + ¼ teaspoon clove and ground ginger optional
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
FOR THE TOPPING
- ½ cup rolled oats
- ½ cup all-purpose flour or gluten-free flour
- ⅓ cup brown sugar up to ½ cup for a sweeter topping
- ½ cup vegan butter fridge-cold and diced
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup pecan nuts chopped
- Peel and chop 3 pounds sweet potatoes into chunks and cook them in a large pot with lightly salted boiling water until they are fork-tender (about 15 minutes).Drain them and let them steam out for 5 minutes.
- Put them in a large bowl with ⅓ cup brown sugar, ¼ cup vegan butter, 1 tablespoon vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg, ½ teaspoon salt, and ⅛ teaspoon black pepper.Mash with a potato masher, hand mixer, or immersion blender until combined.
- Preheat oven to 375°F or 190°C. Grease a 9 x 13-inch casserole dish with vegan butter.Transfer mashed sweet potatoes to your casserole dish and flatten it with a spatula.Now, sprinkle with½ cup pecan nuts (chopped), then cover with the crumble topping.For the topping, add ½ cup rolled oats, ½ cup all-purpose flour, ⅓ cup brown sugar, ½ cup vegan butter (fridge-cold and diced), ½ teaspoon cinnamon, and ⅛ teaspoon salt to a food processor and pulse a few times until combined.
- Bake at 375°F or 190°C for 15 to 25 minutes or until golden brown and crisp on top.Let cool down for some minutes before serving; the topping gets crispier as it cools.